JOHANNESBURG – Springbok livewire scrumhalf Faf de Klerk says his Man-of-the-Match showing in the team’s remarkable 42-39 come-from-behind win against England was far from a complete performance and that the team will need to do more if they are to clinch the series in Bloemfontein this weekend.
But De Klerk’s heroics were enough to spark the Boks to an unlikely victory after trailing by 21 points halfway through the first half.
And there would have been various contributing factors to De Klerk’s performance starting with his understanding of England, having played and been one of the standout players in the Premiership for Sale Sharks and also returning to his former home ground.
De Klerk admits that his time spent in England has helped develop his game, but playing in his first Test alongside flyhalf Handre Pollard also helped him speed up the game when the Boks were in trouble on Saturday.
“I don’t think my game has changed much, but I think my game management is a bit better. But playing with experienced guys like Pollard and getting the calls early makes it easy for a player. There is a little bit of experience gained overseas and it didn’t feel like my first game anymore, I had a bit more confidence and calmness that always helps. Not a complete performance at all, I still have a lot to work on and so does the team,” said De Klerk.
As much as De Klerk’s performance was on the back of his ability to get the ball out quickly to his backs and speeding up the game by finding his charging forwards, the former Hoerskool Waterkloof halfback believes that the Boks can get better with the kind of showing they put on in the last hour of the game.
“I think we were never forced to kick a lot at the Lions. I think I always enjoyed kicking, but now I’m definitely forced to kick a lot more and to get the ball in the right areas of the field. The fact that I was doing it a lot it comes a bit more naturally right now,” De Klerk said.
De Klerk is under no illusions that England will look to square things up at the Free State Stadium and has urged his team to continue on their upward trajectory of scoring tries and winning.